The X-Men are garbage. Nobody likes you, so just scram, m’kay? The comic property that kickstarted the superhero as action hero movement in Hollywood is a small fry when compared to the likes of The Avengers and Spider-Man. Yet there are now a total of seven X-Men adventures as part of its universe, and unlike Spider-Man it’s reboot was to bridge the gap between old and new with Wolverine being the one constant, who features in all seven films in some form.
The latest, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, opened to $90.7 million this weekend, including $8.1 million as part of its Thursday night opening. An impressive number but far lower than the $100+ million analysts had predicted based on strong critical reviews (here’s mine!). The number fell below the openings of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Godzilla, and even the less than heralded The Amazing Spider-Man 2. And DoFP’s opening is the second best opening weekend of an X-Men movie ever, after X-Men: The Last Stand. (I bet fill-in director Brett Ratner is grinning at this.) So what’s the deal? Why could this latest X-Men not topple any of the movies that preceded it this summer? My thought is that audiences are burnt out by superheroes. This is the third comic book movie to be released between April and May and audiences are tired. And the month of May is so frontloaded with movies, because studios want to get off to a strong start in lieu of any stinkers that may pop up later in the season. Therefore, this makes the month of July look like a barren wasteland of new releases. Seriously, outside of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes no major titles interest me. Part of that is do to lack of advertising. Fourth of July weekend is highlighted by a Jerry Bruckheimer produced horror pic (Deliver Us From Evil) from Sinister director Scott Derrickson, E.T. wannabee Earth to Echo and Melissa McCarthy doing whatever the hell she does in Tammy. Oh how I long for the days of an Independence Day.
With its $90 million opening and strong reviews, I don’t think X-Men: Days of Future Past will drop as hard as last week’s #1, Godzilla, which fell 66% percent. As much hate mail Mike Noyes got for his review on the site, when you look back at the movie afterwards, outside of its Jaws-like reveals and monster on monster carnage, you have a film lacking a strong human element. Yes, the movie is called Godzilla, not “Walter White and Son Go To Radioactive Land,” but the changing narrative shows a drop in quality. Monsters fighting is good, while the rest falls a part. I’d be surprised if it makes it to $250 million, which seems to be the high bar as of now thanks to films The Lego Movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, both of which came out before the start of May. Hmmm, I think I’m on to something. Even with daily commitments like work and school, audiences will go out to see movies no matter the time of year and continue to see the movie pending word of mouth travels fast and often. Even better is slotting a film’s opening with a lack of strong competition in the weeks following. Strong opening plus nominal drops in following weeks against weaker competition looks like a successful game plan if you ask me.
Oh, Adam Sandler. What happened man? Going from man-child to man-child with children in family movies seems like the right career move, but Blended and its $14.2 million opening didn’t do him any favors. The good news is that its $40 million budget is forty million less than Grown Ups, but that made some serious queso. While I think Scott Sawitz’s grade was too generous he did get something right by acknowledging that “if you took away the film’s comedy there’s a strong story here about two families whose deficiencies are probably best corrected by merging.” I thought the set-up was strong, but it’s the cheap pratfalls that killed it for me. The repetitive joke of Drew Barrymore carrying her ADD son, who is zonked out, and seeing her struggling to carry which results in her son’s head being banged numerous times is just bad. You’d think after the first bang she’d stop and try to get assistance.
Sandler is one of those guys who I think is stuck in his “happy” place. He’s got his fair share of fans. As it is now the people who enjoyed Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison when they were younger have grown up to have kids of their own, who they’ve probably taken to see Grown Ups 1 and 2 and now Blended. I just wish he’d find the time to do some better movies outside his Happy Madison productions. Maybe Tom McCarthy’s The Cobbler will do the trick when it opens hopefully in late 2014 or 2015.
The rest of the top 10 played as it should have, with Neighbors passing $100 million, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 struggling to make it to $200 million (it’s at $184.9 million now), plus Million Dollar Arm and The Other Woman doing brisk business as counterprogramming to the major summer titles. The big story is the ascension of Chef into the top 10, jumping from 15th to 9th thanks to its expansion from 72 screens to 498 screens, increasing its audience by 218.9%.
Outside of the top 10, Fox Searchlight’s Belle and The Weinstein Company’s The Railway Man and The Immigrant saw bumps due to expansion, and the opening of Words and Pictures, starring Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche, opened on 10 screens and scored $91.4k in the process. And IFC’s TexMex noir, Cold in July, starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson, opened on six screens and finished the weekend with $40.8k.
A full rundown of the Top 10 below.
01. X-Men: Days of Future Past – $90,700,000
02. Godzilla (2014) – $31,425,000 ($148,773,000)
03. Blended – $14,245,000
04. Neighbors – $13,946,000 ($113,626,000)
05. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $7,800,000 ($184,900,000)
06. Million Dollar Arm – $7,093,000 ($20,628,000)
07. The Other Woman – $3,675,000 ($77,773,000)
08. Rio 2 – $2,500,000 ($121,598,000)
09. Chef – $2,260,000 ($3,548,000)
10. Heaven is for Real – $1,950,000 ($85,750,000)
Tags: Blended, box office, Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past